Hundreds of Youth Renew Their Identity in Christ at the 2023 Amazing Facts Youth Conference

By Shenalyn Page
Posted June 19, 2023


More than 500 young people attended EYEDentity: Changed by Beholding, Amazing Facts International’s third annual youth conference, held June 7–10, 2023, at the Granite Bay Hilltop Church in Granite Bay, Calif. Attendees came from across the United States and from as far away as Honduras, Ireland, and India to enjoy a time of learning, fellowship, and outreach.

EYEDentity focused on helping young people to lay hold of their true identity as disciples of Christ rather than living out the identity that the world has prescribed for them through such outlets as social media. Says Pastor Doug Batchelor, president of Amazing Facts, “Our goal was to help young people fortify their connection with Jesus so that whatever their life calling might be, they will never lose their resolve to serve Christ.”

“Young people are longing for spiritual authenticity. They want to hear a straight message and associate with other young people cut from the same cloth,” Pastor Doug adds. “We feel that working with our youth is a pressing need right now since they are the ones who will finish the work so that Jesus can return.”

Exposing the World’s Deceptions

The weekend’s speakers highlighted the dangers of the world’s deceptions. Talks included “How to Escape the Pleasure Trap,” “Beholding Truth or Lies,” “Dare to Change the Game,” and “How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth.” Many conference attendees described the meetings as “eye-opening.”

“The talks were spot on about current issues,” said Jergie Arrogante, who attended the conference with his wife and two preteen children. “The talks on digital issues really impacted our kids.” 

EYEDentity helped me realize that the world is trying to give me a very messed up identity,” says Ethan, a junior from Utah. “I see now that my identity is that I’m God’s child and loved by Him. This weekend has changed the whole way I see my relationship with God.”

Along with Pastor Doug, speakers for the event included Carlos Muñoz, Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism (AFCOE) director; Daniel Hudgens, assistant AFCOE director; Carissa Vitorovic, chaplain; Dwayne Lemon, director of PTH Ministries; Calvin Kim, dentist and Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries’ vice president of evangelism; and Scott Ritsema, director of Belt of Truth Ministries. 

Adopting a New Identity

Over the event, many young people made a commitment to follow Christ. Daniel Hudgens, who spoke on our calling as disciples of Christ, shares, “They came with the world’s identity but began the process of transformation here. By the time they went home, they had chosen a new identity as followers of Christ.”

“Dwayne Lemon’s sermon really touched my life,” shared Sophia, from Southern California. “I was convicted that I have been defiling my body—the temple of God. It was a beautiful moment for me when I recommitted myself to Him.” 

“Truly, the Spirit of God is moving in this generation of young people!” says Scott Ritsema. His talks compared the dangers of being conformed to this world with the joy of being transformed by Christ. “I was thrilled to see many young people make life-changing decisions for Christ, with regards to their media use, and to come apart from the world to dedicate their lives to God’s service.”

Even the event speakers felt God’s Spirit leading this conference. Says Carissa Vitorovic, “I was so inspired to see so many young people from around the world come together to study God’s Word, seek His plan for their lives, and build close friendships with peers who have the same focus. While we had a theme, the speakers did not pre-coordinate our messages. Yet by God’s grace, they beautifully blended to create a comprehensive picture of how we can experience deeper transformation in our lives in a tangible, relevant way.”

Fellowship and Outreach

Outreach and fellowship opportunities also helped to make the weekend special for attendees. Free meals were provided by the Granite Bay Hilltop Church congregation, giving the young people an opportunity to fellowship on the grounds between meetings. 

“I was praying for a way to make godly friends,” says Joycee, a public high school student. “This weekend has been great. I’ve made a bunch of new friends.”  

Afterglow meetings in the outdoor amphitheater followed the evening meetings. The joy of friendship in Christ was palpable in the cool summer evenings as the young people sang and shared testimonies. 

Conference attendees prayed with community members and gave out copies of Steps to Christ and The Great Controversy on Friday afternoon. “It was amazing to see how many people were willing to pray with us,” says Araceli, a homeschooler from Sacramento.

Audrey shared, “My partner, Bethlehem, had never prayed with anyone before, and she was super nervous. But the lady that came to the door was so happy to pray with us. Bethlehem prayed with her and said it was the best experience of her life.”

A handful of youth and young adult ministries hosted booths at the conference. “This was the first time I’d ever done a booth,” says Melody, founder of GEM Girls, a sisterhood ministry for teen girls. “I met so many amazing young ladies who want to seek God together. It was really encouraging.”

A Youth-Led Event

EYEDentity is Amazing Facts’ third youth conference. The first was held in 2021 as COVID-19 began to wind down. It was the outgrowth of the online youth events that Tony Scarpino, a Granite Bay Church youth leader, had begun in 2020. 

“We started broadcasting our youth Sabbath School on social media at the beginning of COVID,” explains Scarpino. “Then we added “Hey Let’s Pray” on Monday nights and a Friday night vespers with Granite Bay youth. When the church youth started going back to their normal lives, we continued with our online group. It has continued to grow. Now we have 25 to 35 youth who gather online twice a week for prayer and fellowship.”

That online youth group has provided the core young adult leadership for the Amazing Facts Youth conferences. “They came up with the theme and title for EYEDentity,” says Scarpino. 

Arkilles, an engineering student from the Los Angeles area, joined the online prayer group in 2020. “At first, I wasn’t sure if these people were real in their passion for God,” he says. “But I stuck around and have made friends for eternity. It was great to meet them at the conference. Then Tony asked me to help lead. That was significant for me because I was very shy and reclusive. Leading out has blessed me more than I could have imagined.”

You can watch archives of the event here. And for more information about Amazing Fact’s Youth weekly events, please visit or


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